Filter Results:

All sectors

All categories

    12258 news articles

    You can refine the results using the filters above.

  • F-35 Mod Adds New Missiles To Weapons Bay

    July 24, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    F-35 Mod Adds New Missiles To Weapons Bay

    Lockheed Martin will modify the F-35 weapons bay to accommodate a very long-range, anti-radiation missile and support a potential future upgrade to carry up to six air-to-air missiles internally, a source close to the program says. The U.S. Defense Department awarded Lockheed Martin a $34.7 million contract on July 18 to complete the weapons bay modifications by July 2022. The contract announcement released by the Pentagon specifically calls for altering the portion of the Station 425 bulkhead inside the weapons to carry “aft heavy weaponry.” A source close to the program says the weapon involved in the modification program is the Navy's Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER). Although the baseline AARGM bears a close resemblance to the AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile, the AARGM-ER removes the mid-body wings and increases the diameter of the missile body. The maximum range of the AARGM-ER is classified. The Air Force is developing a new version of the AARGM-ER, which is called the Stand-in Attack Weapon. The modification to Station 425 also will allow the F-35 to carry six AIM-120 missiles internally, the source says. Lockheed has proposed the so-called “Sidekick” modification to increase the F-35's internal load-out from four to six air-to-air missiles. The Station 425 modification is funded by all three U.S. service branches acquiring the F-35. Although the AARGM-ER is not yet cleared for export, foreign customers also are contributing, supplying about $7 million of funding for the modification program.

  • NIWC Atlantic is Named First DoD Entity to Join Amazon Web Services Academy

    July 24, 2019 | International, Naval

    NIWC Atlantic is Named First DoD Entity to Join Amazon Web Services Academy

    By Diane Owens, Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic Public Affairs CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) -- Certified cybersecurity instructors at Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic's Cyber Education and Certification Readiness Facility (CERF) in Charleston are collaborating with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to train active duty military members and civilian employees in cloud computing. The training is part of the first Department of Defense (DoD) AWS academy and is offered to all branches of service. AWS Academy is a pathway for students and educators to gain AWS cloud computing skills and knowledge via AWS-authorized curriculum; the courses prepare students to pursue industry-recognized AWS certifications. “This is a tremendous honor and an incredible opportunity to lead the way in cloud computing education for DoD employees,” said Andrew Mansfield, NIWC Atlantic technical director. “Cloud computing is a key component of the next generation of IT and is critical to maintaining the military's technological advantage. It represents significant change – end-to-end.” CERF instructors met stringent requirements for certification as part of NIWC Atlantic's commitment to develop and retain a credentialed workforce. “The CERF team is providing active duty military members and civilian employees foundational opportunities to learn about and stay abreast of emerging technology domains such as cloud,” said Mansfield. Wesley Jones, NIWC Atlantic CERF instructor, taught the first one-week, face-to-face portion of the AWS Academy Cloud Foundations course to Marine Corps active duty members and civilian employees at the Pentagon June 10 – 14. The instructors used AWS-provided coursework including lectures, self-assessments and hands-on lab projects. In addition to classroom training, AWS Academy provides students with one-year online access to remote curriculum that supplements classroom training. Jones also distributed a step-by-step checklist he developed for self-study to help students pass the related AWS certification exam. He plans to track and encourage class members as they obtain certification. “The students loved the class; everyone was amped up,” Jones said. “Because I'm a government employee, it put them at ease. We were able to discuss and apply classroom concepts used in government projects during class.” The CERF has also partnered with AWS Educate, which makes a free online IT sandbox – Amazon Console – available to students for classroom labs and scenarios they create on their own. The students' sandbox and fresh expertise deploy and test networks, systems and applications relevant to their customers' requirements. “Bringing the instructor to the classroom to avoid having students travel to vendor training is convenient – and it's a huge cost avoidance,” said Jeff Hays, NIWC Atlantic Marine Corp team lead. “Classroom networking is also extremely beneficial; it allows students to discuss specific challenges from the perspective of a DoD environment and facilitates sharing experiences. You don't get that at vendor training.” NIWC Atlantic instructors Jones, Kamau Buffalo and Fred Bisel are working diligently to pass additional certification exams so they can teach more AWS courses as they are released. “The instructors are stars,” said Bisel. “They teach part-time and have other jobs as members of various integrated products teams – many involving cloud computing. Most of their certification study and classroom preparation occurs after business hours -- and they're also staying abreast of innovations that affect material in existing classes. It's a continuous learning process and they're highly motivated.” The second AWS Academy course for Marine Corps members took place at the Marine Corps Information Technology Center in Kansas City, Missouri, in July. To inquire about DoD cloud computing training, contact Bisel at As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities. Get more information about the Navy from US Navy Facebook or Twitter. For more news from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, visit

  • Collins Aerospace gets sixth order from U.S. Army for production of next-generation Manpack radios

    July 24, 2019 | International, Land

    Collins Aerospace gets sixth order from U.S. Army for production of next-generation Manpack radios

    CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (July 23, 2019) – Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), has received its sixth order from the U.S. Army to provide PRC-162 software-defined ground radios for the Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Factor (HMS) program. This sixth order was issued under a multiple award contract that the Army awarded to Rockwell Collins and two other companies in 2016. The contract, which has a $12.7 billion maximum firm-fixed-price with an estimated completion date of March 2026, moves the Army another step closer toward modernizing communications on the battlefield. The PRC-162 is a two-channel ground radio, both man-portable and vehicle-mountable, that will enable the Army to tap into next-generation communications capabilities such as the Department of Defense's new Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) while maintaining interoperability with legacy waveforms. An open-architecture design also allows for software-upgradeable capabilities in the future. “Success in today's multi-domain battlespace depends heavily on secure and reliable communications,” said Phil Jasper, president, Mission Systems for Collins Aerospace. “We've applied decades of proven experience in airborne communications to provide the Army with a next-generation ground radio that will give troops a heightened level of situational awareness and a tactical advantage.” The PRC-162 is a part of Collins Aerospace's TruNet™ networked communications family of products, which includes ground and airborne radios, advanced networking waveforms, applications, and support and services that enable ground and airborne elements to exchange critical data, images, voice and video in real time. About Collins Aerospace Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), is a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defense industry. Created in 2018 by bringing together UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins, Collins Aerospace has the capabilities, comprehensive portfolio and expertise to solve customers' toughest challenges and to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global market. For more information, visit About United Technologies Corporation United Technologies Corp., based in Farmington, Connecticut, provides high-technology systems and services to the building and aerospace industries. By combining a passion for science with precision engineering, the company is creating smart, sustainable solutions the world needs. For more information about the company, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter: @UTC.

  • German army relies on Rohde And Schwarz

    July 24, 2019 | International, C4ISR

    German army relies on Rohde And Schwarz

    Munich 22-Jul-2019 - IDZ-ES and the PUMA infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) for the VJTF 2023 are making a start on the end-to-end digital command radio link over the first mile using software defined radios from Rohde & Schwarz. The seamless command radio link for the PUMA armored infantry system with the infantryman of the future (IdZ-ES) for the Very High Readiness Joint Taskforce (VJTF) 2023 is provided by Rohde & Schwarz. With the Budget Committee of the German Lower House of German Parliament (Bundestag) having given its approval for the armored infantry system service package at the end of June, the necessary contracts for procurement have now also been completed. "This order is a milestone that we have reached after winning against international competitors in challenging trials and comparative tests set by the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) in 2018 in Munster, Germany," explained Hartmut Jäschke, Senior Vice President Market Segments Secure Communications Sales and Projects at Rohde & Schwarz. Its basis is the intention of the Bundeswehr to be ready with the PUMA IFV/armored infantry system and the latest version of IdZ-ES for NATO VJTF (Land) in 2023. Rohde & Schwarz is a subcontractor of Rheinmetall Electronics, which is responsible for the IdZ-ES system, and will supply the latest tactical software defined radios (SDR) together with suitable waveforms, integration, training and services. The SOVERON family works with the high data rate and interference-immune SOVERON WAVE waveforms for tactical rugged use on the first mile, and is thus an exact match for the spectrum of requirements of a battle group for territorial and collective defense as well as for international crisis management operations. All members of the SOVERON WAVE family of waveforms offer mobile ad hoc network (MANET) functionality. Radios equipped with this capability function as routers within the IP network group, forwarding the information via other communication nodes and thus ensuring that a robust, interference-immune link can be maintained under all circumstances. The Rohde & Schwarz VHF/UHF radio systems selected for this project will establish and maintain the command radio link with simultaneous voice and IP data from dismounted troops up to the platoon and company level. The systems concerned are handheld (SDHR/SOVERON HR) and vehicular radios (SDTR/SOVERON VR) that are interoperable with the German Armed Forces joint radio system (SVFuA, series name: SOVERON D) that has already been commissioned by the Bundeswehr and the SDR waveforms procured with it. The first batch of SOVERON D commissioned for command vehicles will be delivered to the troops in the first half of 2020. This interplay is also of great importance for future viability in the context of the Digitalization of Land Based Operations/Tactical Edge Networking (D-LBO/TEN) major project for highly secure and trusted interoperable connections that will only come into effect after VJTF 2023. SOVERON D also provides backward compatibility with the analog SEM radio infrastructure that will be in service for some time yet even though it is obsolete. This capability was also recently demonstrated in further tests. "With our innovative overall approach – SOVERON – we provide national trusted solutions that can be tailored to the customer's needs but which, due to their open architecture, are compatible with established radio systems and architectures and, at the same time, will be viable in the future," Mr. Jäschke continued. "It is an honor for us to bring into operation by the troops the latest state of the art for the VJTF. By doing so, we are not only paving the way for the next steps of D-LBO/TEN and for further strategic projects of the Bundeswehr. There are also significant synergies with the Telecommunications of the Army (TK A) project in Switzerland, comparable to the networking part of D-LBO/TEN. We are in the final round of a multi-year competition here." Rohde & Schwarz The Rohde & Schwarz technology group develops, produces and markets innovative communications, information and security products for professional users. The group's test and measurement, broadcast and media, aerospace | defense | security, networks and cybersecurity business fields address many different industry and government-sector market segments. On June 30, 2018, Rohde & Schwarz had approximately 11,500 employees. The independent group achieved a net revenue of approximately EUR 2 billion in the 2017/2018 fiscal year (July to June). The company has its headquarters in Munich, Germany. Internationally, it has subsidiaries in more than 70 countries, with regional hubs in Asia and America. R&S® is a registered trademark of Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co.KG. View source version on Rohde & Schwarz :

  • Fighter jet RFP released

    July 24, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Fighter jet RFP released

    Posted on July 24, 2019 by Chris Thatcher A formal request for proposals (RFP) to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) fleet of CF-188 Hornets was released on July 23, launching the final phase of an intense competition for what will be the largest acquisition in recent Air Force history. The much-anticipated RFP had been expected in May, but was pushed back several months to allow procurement officials to asses changes to a draft version requested by several of the likely bidders. Valued at up to $19 billion, the future fighter project is seeking proposals for 88 advanced aircraft to replace an RCAF fleet of 76 Hornets that began entering service in the mid-1980s. Four suppliers have been qualified to submit bids: Sweden's Saab Aeronautics with the Gripen E; Airbus Defense and Space, under the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, with the Eurofighter Typhoon; Boeing with the F/A-18 Super Hornet; and Lockheed Martin with the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The latter two both have the support of the United States government. Proposals must be submitted by spring 2020–no date was provided in the government press release–but bidders will have at least two opportunities to confirm critical elements of their submission meet Canada's security and interoperability requirements. During industry engagements over the past two years, senior officers with the Fighter Capability Office have stressed the importance of Two Eyes (Canada-U.S.) and Five Eyes (Canada, U.S., United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand) interoperability. The fighter fleet is integral to both Canadian sovereignty and U.S. defence through the NORAD mission. French manufacturer Dassault Aviation withdrew from the competition in November 2018, citing the Two Eyes requirements as a restricting factor to any proposal. Bidders can provide their security offer for feedback by fall 2019, and then revise. They will also have an opportunity after the full proposals are delivered to address deficiencies “related to mandatory criteria,” Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) said in a statement. “[Bidders] will receive feedback from Canada so that they can address non-compliance. This approach has already been used for other large federal procurements and has proven to be successful in maintaining a high level of competition.” Though technical capability will account for 60 per cent of the evaluation, economic benefit to Canada will be worth 20 per cent, the highest weighting for economic return on any procurement to date. The final 20 per cent will be attributed to overall program cost. One reason for the delayed RFP was concern raised by Lockheed Martin over how the government's Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) policy would apply. Though 110 Canadian companies have received around US$1.5 billion in contracts for the F-35 program to date, the company is unable to offer the type of industrial offsets required by the ITB policy and believed it would be at a disadvantage. The government was reminded that, as a signatory of the Joint Strike Fighter Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development Memorandum of Understanding in 2006, it had agreed not to impose “work sharing or other industrial or commercial compensation ... that is not in accordance with the MOU.” Carla Qualtrough, minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, told defence executives at a trade show in May that changes had been made to the statement of requirements that would “ensure a level playing field” while “maintaining our government's policy objectives. “Every bid must still include a plan for ITBs equal to 100 per cent or more of the contract value. That doesn't change,” she said. “This procurement is a generational opportunity for the Canadian aerospace industry that will generate good middle-class jobs across the country. What will change is that it will be up to each supplier to decide whether they will also provide a contractual obligation for their ITBs.” Bidders will score higher if their ITB plan is backed with a contractual obligation, added Qualtrough. “This is a complex process. As complex as any the federal government has ever conducted. The field is comprised of very different entities – and dynamics. Conducting a truly open and fair competition among them is indeed a challenge,” she said. Mitch Davies, a senior assistant deputy minister at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, told CBC on July 23 that the ITB requirement had been structured so that companies could “make a compliant ITB offer that suits their circumstances,” but that Lockheed Martin could still be penalized for failure to meet certain contractual commitments. The competition is being monitored by an independent fairness monitor. In public statements, Lockheed Martin said it looks forward to participating in the competition, while other companies said they will review the RFP documents. The U.S. Air Force has been touring the F-35 in Canada this summer; it performed at the Bagotville Airshow in June and will be at the Ottawa-Gatineau airshow in early September. A spokesperson told Skies the fighter is “the most survivable aircraft and a generational leap ahead of any other fighter in production today. From a cost perspective, we've reduced production cost below $80 million,” which would be on par, if not below, other legacy aircraft. Over 400 aircraft have now been built, accumulating 200,000 flight hours. When the government re-launched the Future Fighter Capability project in late 2017, it also said the eventual evaluation would include an assessment of a bidder's “impact on Canada's economic interests,” a clause directed at Boeing for its then trade complaint against Montreal-based Bombardier. With the trade complaint since dismissed by U.S. International Trade Commission, Jim Barnes, Boeing's team lead for the Canada, told Skies in May the clause would not have “an impact on our competitiveness.” Boeing will likely bid the Block 3 variant of the Super Hornet, “the next evolution” that features advanced networking and data processing capabilities in a distributed targeting processor network with cockpit touch panel displays, and in an airframe that has been enhanced from 6,000 to 10,000 flight hours. “The baseline Super Hornet attributes, with the capability increases of the Block 3, is an ideally suited aircraft for NORAD and NATO operations,” said Barnes. “At this point in time, we think we have a very compelling offer to put on the table.” That offer could be bolstered by the continued interest in the aircraft by the U.S. Navy. Boeing has signed a multi-year contract for 110 Block 3 aircraft out to 2026, and is expected to convert as many as 442 Block 2 variants to the Block 3 configuration by 2033. “It is the perfect time for an international customer to procure the Super Hornet,” he said, noting that the ongoing U.S. Navy program will help maintain acquisition and lifecycle costs. Airbus Defence & Space has said from start of the competition that it would decide whether to submit a proposal once the final statement of requirements in the RFP was released. The Typhoon serves in a similar role to NORAD duty with the Royal Air Force, and has participated in numerous missions with U.S. aircraft. It is unclear how easily it could be incorporated into NORAD mission systems. However, Airbus has continued to strengthen its position in Canada, winning the fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft competition in 2016 and partnering with Bombardier on the C Series, now known as the Airbus A220. It now calls Canada it's fifth home country. “We are proud of our history as a longstanding partner to Canada, serving the country's aerospace priorities for over three decades. We welcome the new opportunities to support the Canadian Armed Forces, to provide skilled aerospace jobs across our country and to help safeguard Canadian sovereignty,” Simon Jacques, president of Airbus Defence and Space Canada, told CBC. While the Gripen E might be the dark horse in the competition, Patrick Palmer, Saab Canada's executive vice-president, told defence reporters in May the aircraft was designed to be easily upgradeable as technology changes–the avionics software is split so that flight-critical and tactical modules can be upgraded separately “without having to have a full aircraft recertified.” The jet has also evolved to ensure NATO interoperability and meet “the threats beyond 2025 – the threats we know today, the threats we don't know today ... in any contested airspace environment,” he said. More important for the NORAD mission, the Gripen was designed from the outset for Arctic operations, requiring minimal ground crew support and featuring the ability to operate from austere airstrips. PSPC expects to award a contract in 2022. The first aircraft will be delivered starting in 2025.

  • Next-gen aircrew training

    July 23, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Next-gen aircrew training

    Rarely in the life of a large, complex military program do you get the opportunity to reshape it from the ground up. But with two pilot training contracts coming to an end in the mid-2020s, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is taking advantage of the moment to “reimagine how we are doing training,” said Col Pete Saunders, director of Air Simulation and Training. RCAF pilots obtain their wings through two contracted training services, Contracted Flying Training and Support (CFTS) and NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC), delivered from two schools in Manitoba and Saskatchewan: 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School (3 CFFTS) at the Southport Aerospace Centre in Portage la Prairie and 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School (2 CFFTS) at 15 Wing Moose Jaw. CFTS, delivered by Allied Wings and led by KF Aerospace, ends in 2027 while NFTC, provided by CAE Military Aviation Training, runs until December 2023, with the option for a one-year extension–the program was recently extended from 2021. At same time, the RCAF would like to transition in-house training of its air combat systems officers (ACSO) and airborne electronic sensor operators (AESOp) to the same program as pilot training, a move partially driven by the end of service life of their primary training platform, the Dash-8 “Gonzo” in 2028. “There are things we have done really well, things we probably wouldn't do that way again, so this is an opportunity to re-baseline everything,” said Saunders. By concentrating all aircrew training under one program, the RCAF is requesting one of the more comprehensive and ambitious industry-managed programs worldwide, from courseware and training devices to aircraft and maintenance, instructors and facilities management. The Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) program hasn't yet released an official price tag, but with NFTC worth about $3.8 billion over 25 years and CFTS valued at $1.8 billion over 22 years, the eventual contract could exceed $10 billion over 20 plus years. More than 80 companies initially expressed interest in the program and five have been down-selected to offer bids when a request for proposals is released in early 2020: Airbus Defence and Space, Babcock Canada, Leonardo Canada, Lockheed Martin Canada, and SkyAlyne Canada, a joint venture between the two incumbents, CAE and KF Aerospace. A sixth qualified bidder, BAE Systems, withdrew in April. What they will be asked to bid on boils down to a single word: Output. In presentations to industry over the past two years, Saunders has stressed, “it is not an aircraft acquisition program, it is a training service, [and] what we are contracting for is output. How a successful supplier gets there, I am not that fussed. What I care about is the output.” And that is a straightforward demand: 120 pilots, 40 ACSOs and 36 AESOps, plus or minus 15 per cent, to a defined standard every year. The flexibility to ramp up or down is intended to deal with shortages–the RCAF is at about 82.6 per cent of manning or around 275 pilots short at the moment–the introduction of new fleets like remotely-piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), and the transition from legacy to new airframes when throughput may not be as high. The numbers are based on demographic shifts and forecasted attrition rates, a “sweet spot” that acknowledges the fact the newer generations may be less likely to enroll for a 25-year career, he said. The Air Force also wants a program adaptable to technological change as both training systems and teaching methodologies evolve. “Our existing programs are delivering exactly what we are asking for, but they don't have that flexibility baked into them, which then handcuffs the contractor who would love to do things slightly differently, but it comes at a certain cost,” said Saunders. FASTER WINGS The current training system produces around 100 to 115 pilots each year for the RCAF's fleets of multi-engine, rotary wing and fighter aircraft. Though the schools delivered a record 116 pilots in 2016, the number has been scaled back to 107 for 2018 to manage a bottleneck developing at many of the operational training units (OTU). The Air Force revised its selection process about five years ago, from a series of aptitude tests and hand-eye coordination simulators to a computer-based assessment purchased from the Royal Air Force, and has seen a significant drop in its overall attrition rate from about 15 per cent to six to eight per cent. On average, 155 students from a pool of almost 1,200 are selected for the four-phase program that begins with primary flight training on the Grob 120-A in Portage la Prairie. About 130 advance to Phase II in Moose Jaw for basic flight training on the CT-156 Harvard II turboprop–an additional 10 often remain on the Grob if there is a capacity issue with the Harvard or they suffer from air sickness on the faster aircraft and are likely going to become helicopter pilots. At the end of Phase II, students are streamed into multi-engine, rotary wing and fast jet. Approximately 35 multi-engine and 60 helicopter candidates will return to Portage for Phase III advanced flight training on the Raytheon King Air C-90B or the Bell CH-139 Jet Ranger and Bell 412 while around 30 remain in Moose Jaw for advanced fighter training on the CT-155 Hawk, learning advanced aerobatics, instrument flying, and tactical formation flying. With Wings proudly pinned to their uniforms, multi-engine and rotary-wing pilots are assigned to operational training units while fighter pilots move on to Phase IV, also known as Fighter Lead-In Training (FLIT), still on the Hawk but at 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta. The Air Force is also in the process of analyzing the options for a future FLIT program, but has opted to separate FAcT from the more specialized FLIT requirements. One of the many objectives of FAcT will be to stream pilots earlier in the process, rather than waiting until the end of basic flight training after Phase II. In preparation for a new program, the RCAF has revised the qualification standards for all its aircrew trades, but especially for pilots to reflect the mission management component of flying more data-generating aircraft. “There will be a basic flying training phase for all pilots. And then as early as possible, we want to stream them between rotary and fixed-wing,” said Saunders. “Then rotary folks will go off and do their basic rotary training and advanced training, be that on one aircraft or two aircraft. On the fixed wing stream, there will be [additional training] and then they will split again between fast jet and multi-engine.” Whether that is delivered as four distinct phases has yet to be defined, he said, but the Air Force has been working with potential bidders through workshops to develop the training plan. “As long as they meet the standard we have laid out, how we get there will be unique to each one of these qualified suppliers.” The Air Force recently adjusted its training plan to a block approach where student performance is measured by passing certain gates rather than following a linear progression. “The result has been very positive in that we've reduced our extra do-overs, our extra training by half,” said Col Denis O'Reilly, commander of 15 Wing Moose Jaw. By allowing students to focus on areas where they know they need the work and giving them more input into their flights, “it has decreased attrition rates and increased student confidence,” he said. “That has allowed us to use these hours more wisely... [I]nstructors are more successful on every trip they take a student on.” ACSOs and AESOps will remain in Winnipeg, but bringing them under the same training program is intended to capitalize on the fact that much of the basic courseware is common to both pilots and systems operators. Specialized training for future RPAS pilots and weapon systems operators will be done at an OTU, but the initial skills will be to the same standard as other aircrew, said Saunders. “If we determine that the nature of the work is so different that it requires a change in the qualification standard or that we need to make a different stream, then we will have the ability to do that.” The CFTS and NFTC programs are delivered with a mix of 12 Grobs, seven King Airs, 10 Jet Rangers, nine 412s, 22 Harvards and 17 Hawks, and all have an availability rate of over 90 per cent. And at 17,600 hours per year, no one flies Harvards more than Canadian pilot candidates. However, Saunders has told industry not to assume access to any of the current training fleets. “The [18-year-old] Hawks and the Harvards have done a great job and we're pretty confident they will be fine to the end of the contracts,” he said. “But we put a lot of abuse on them. Let's just say pilot training is not kind to aircraft. So those aren't going to be available. Similar with the rotary wing aircraft. We are seeing a clean slate. I'm not telling [qualified bidders] which airplane ... as long as it achieves my training objectives.” TRAINING INNOVATION In 2015, the RCAF released a long-term simulation strategy intended to “transform [the] training system from one that relies on aircraft to one that exploits new technologies to train aviators in a simulation-focused system that creates, in effect, a ‘virtual battlespace'.” Leveraging the latest in technology is still an Air Force goal, but the RFP for FAcT will not prescribe percentages for live flying versus simulation training. “We haven't given them a specific ratio,” said Saunders. “We spoke with allies who have introduced programs over the last couple years, and looked at our own experience on the CH-148 Cyclone and the CH-147 Chinook, where we have more modern simulators, and said, ‘Is there a sweet spot?' I can't say there is a consensus out there.” Rather, the Air Force has looked at its performance objectives and tried to determine how many can be completed in a simulator. “Our initial cut is probably more flying hours than we are currently getting,” he admitted. Because the Air Force also wants to push more training down from the OTUs to the pre-Wings phase of a pilot's development–skills like VFR navigation, night vision systems, and formation flying operating with night vision goggles–Saunders also expects the number of simulator hours to increase. “I want to teach the whys and hows and get them comfortable trusting these things on a much less expensive aircraft,” he said. At present, the majority of simulation flying is done during Phase III of rotary wing (42%) and multi-engine (59%) training. Peter Fedak, a former commanding officer of 3 CFFTS and the site manager for Allied Wings in Portage, said the “pendulum has swung back a bit” when it comes to simulation. The school recently acquired an advanced simulator for the Bell 206, but instead of replacing hours one-for-one, “we are trying to use the sim to the best of its ability and seeing how many things we can take out of the aircraft.” In fact, the changes added five days to the training curriculum. However, the Air Force will be looking to industry for ideas and technologies to improve how students learn. O'Reilly noted training is expensive and industry is well ahead of the military on new methodologies. “I don't think we can be closed minded about it,” he said. Added Saunders: “That is where I think we are going to see the largest differentiator between bidders, is in how they want to get somebody from point A to point B using some of these more advanced technologies. But it has to be cost-effective. I've been very clear that this is not a developmental program. Canada can't be the guinea pig in terms of new and unproven technology.” CONTRACTING EXPERIENCE All the improvements to the training system won't matter much if the operational training units are unable to absorb Winged pilots more quickly. At present, the Air Force has a bottleneck at most OTUs due to challenges retaining experienced pilots and an operational tempo that has pulled veteran instructors from most fleets for deployments. That has resulted at times in lengthy delays for some young pilots, observed Fedak. “The gap is longer than we would like and we are seeing some fade and a lot of returns. Because of that wait, we have had to do refresher training for a lot of people who we would love to never see again, unless they come back as instructors.” Saunders said the ideal wait is no more than six months to finish advanced training and then move, get settled, complete some ground school and begin flying at an OTU. “That is motivating and it's also efficient.” As part of FAcT, the Air Force is open to more contracted flight instructors. While industry under both the CFTS and NFTC provides simulator-based instruction, live flying has remained the purview of the military, a commitment that requires around 130 instructors in both locations, said O'Reilly. “The intent is to allow the OTUs to be better staffed from a uniform perspective, which is where I really need those instructor pilots,” said Saunders. As the former commander of 406 Maritime Operational Training Squadron in Shearwater, N.S., when the Cyclone was introduced, he relied on a dozen serving and contracted instructors to manage the conversion from the CH-124 Sea King to the Cyclone. “Half of those are probably contracted flight instructors on any given day, and you would not be able to tell who is who,” he explained. “My focus at the time was to create that one team, one standard, one mission approach. There were things the contracted folks don't teach–tactics that are a classification level beyond what they hold–but they definitely teach everything up to that point, interspersed with our uniform flight instructors.” Transitioning from a program managed by two companies to a single provider of what are now three distinct programs won't be straightforward, even if the winner is the joint venture of CAE and KF Aerospace. Though the two companies have been “very responsive” managing an inter-related program, ensuring the right number of aircraft are on the line each day, students transfer back and forth and “an issue with one creates a ripple effect with the other,” noted Saunders. “These are different companies under different contracts with different metrics, so just by the very nature of it, it creates a challenge.” The RCAF, however, has experienced enough fleet transitions in recent years to “have learned what things work well,” he said. Through a series of workshops with industry on everything from training plans, to aircraft, to infrastructure that will extend into the fall, the Air Force hopes to present an RFP in early 2020 that is well understood and not subject to unexpected delays. “I've said, ‘I know it isn't going to be a cheap program, but tell me if there is something we are asking for that is going to create a significant cost driver',” he said. To date he has been getting that type of feedback. Potential bidders, for example, have raised questions about his contention flying hours may increase. “We have provided our rationale based on what we've learned from our allies, but we are not being prescriptive, we are saying this is what we see as a benchmark. And if you are telling me something different, tell me why.” The Air Force created two documents, Concept of Training and Concept of Training Support, to guide prospective vendors through the current process, from weather and number of flying days in both locations to meals and accommodation. “I would argue by the time the RFP comes out, most people would have their bids in a 95 per cent completion state because we have been working with them all the way through,” he said. Among other measures, the Air Force will stand up a Training Implementation Working Group led by 2 Canadian Air Division to monitor the process and assess the implications of various decisions once a contract is awarded in 2021. “It will be very complicated,” but when you have that rare opportunity to makes changes, you need to seize it, he said.

  • Canada announces next step in future fighter competition

    July 23, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Canada announces next step in future fighter competition

    GATINEAU, QC, July 23, 2019 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is ensuring the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces have the equipment they need to do their jobs. As part of its defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the government is acquiring 88 advanced fighter jets to provide the capability the Canadian Armed Forces needs to ensure the safety and security of Canadians and meet its international obligations. This is the most significant investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in more than 30 years. With it, the government will deliver the aircraft that meet Canada's needs, while ensuring good value for Canadians. This investment will support the growth of Canada's highly skilled workforce in the aerospace and defence industries for decades to come, from coast to coast. Today, the government achieved a major milestone in the process. Following extensive engagement with industry and eligible suppliers over the past 18 months, the formal Request for Proposals has now been released to eligible suppliers. The following suppliers have until spring 2020 to submit initial proposals to Canada: Sweden—SAAB AB (publ)—Aeronautics United Kingdom and Northern Ireland—Airbus Defense and Space GmbH (with MBDA UK Limited, L3 Technologies MAS and CAE Canada) United States—Lockheed Martin Corporation (Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company) (with Pratt and Whitney) United States—The Boeing Company (with Peraton Canada Corp., CAE Inc., L3 Technologies MAS Inc., GE Canada and Raytheon Canada Limited Services and Support Division) Canada will provide two opportunities for all bidders to demonstrate that they can present a plan to meet Canada'ssecurity and interoperability requirements. The security offer is due in fall 2019, and following feedback from Canada, bidders may revise and resubmit that offer as part of the initial proposal in spring 2020. Bidders will also have an opportunity to address deficiencies in their proposals related to mandatory criteria. Rather than being rejected immediately for not meeting mandatory requirements, bidders will receive feedback from Canadaso that they can address non-compliance. This approach has already been used for other large federal procurements and has proven to be successful in maintaining a high level of competition. All bidders will be subject to the same evaluation criteria, and proposals will be rigorously assessed on elements of technical merit (60%), cost (20%) and economic benefits (20%). This procurement attributes one of the highest weightings to economic benefits for Canada in its history. All suppliers will be required to provide a plan for economic benefits equal to the value of their proposed contract, with maximum points only being awarded to suppliers who provide contractual guarantees. This open and transparent competition is being monitored by an independent Fairness Monitor to ensure a level playing field for all potential bidders. The Fairness Monitor's interim report on the supplier qualification and engagement process found that activities were conducted in a fair manner. The Fairness Monitor provided the following statement to Public Services and Procurement Canada: "As the Fairness Monitor for the Future Fighter Capability Project, we have monitored the project throughout the qualification and engagement stage, including the development of the Request for Proposals, and we have identified no fairness deficiencies. It is our opinion that the process has been conducted in a fair manner. Decisions were made objectively and free from personal favouritism or improper influence, and the process encompassed the elements of openness, competitiveness, transparency and compliance." The evaluation of proposals, including any revised proposals, is expected to result in identifying the selected bidder in early 2022, with the first aircraft delivery starting as early as 2025. The Government of Canada will continue making progress on this significant project to ensure the safety and security of Canadians over the coming decades. Quotes "Our government is delivering on its promise to replace Canada's fighter jet fleet through an open and transparent competition. Today marks an important step in the process that will provide the women and men of the Royal Canadian Air Force with the aircraft they need to help ensure the safety and security of Canadians, at the right price and with the most economic benefit to Canada." The Honourable Carla Qualtrough Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility "The procurement of a fleet of 88 future fighter aircraft is an essential step forward that our government committed to in Strong, Secure, Engaged. This investment will mean that the Royal Canadian Air Force has what it needs to protect Canadians. It is essential that we get the right equipment that will serve our women and men in uniform for decades to come." The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan Minister of National Defence "Concrete, lasting economic benefits for Canadians are a priority for this project. This procurement is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to support the growth of Canada's highly skilled workforce in the aerospace and defence industries. We are confident Canadians will reap the full value of this procurement process through investments, research and development, and good jobs for decades to come." The Honourable Navdeep Bains Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Quick facts The Government of Canada has remained engaged with the Canadian aerospace and defence industries since the launch of this process in December 2017, to ensure they are well positioned to participate in this procurement. A contract award is anticipated in the early 2022 timeframe, and the first replacement aircraft is expected to be delivered as early as 2025. Transition to a new fighter fleet will require continuing operations with the existing CF-18s until the new fleet reaches its full operational capability. The integration of additional Australian fighters is helping ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces has the equipment it needs to continue to deliver its missions, and to meet its international obligations. Associated links Future fighter capability project Fighter jets Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook SOURCE Public Services and Procurement Canada For further information: Marielle Hossack, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, 819-997-5421; Media Relations, Public Services and Procurement Canada, 819-420-5501, Related Links

  • Air Force to Award Big ICBM Manufacturing Contract By End of Summer 2020

    July 23, 2019 | Aerospace

    Air Force to Award Big ICBM Manufacturing Contract By End of Summer 2020

    The Air Force plans to award a contract sometime between July and September of 2020 to build the U.S.' next nuclear-tipped, intercontinental ballistic missile, the service said Tuesday. The Air Force plans to buy more than 600 Ground Based Strategic Deterrent...

  • Fixing relationships: How US Army Futures Command is working with small biz, academia

    July 23, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

    Fixing relationships: How US Army Futures Command is working with small biz, academia

    By: Jen Judson WASHINGTON — U.S. Army Futures Command is laying the groundwork to strengthen collaboration with academia and small businesses to solve some of the service's most major problems. The Army has struggled with relationships outside of the established defense industry, particularly with small businesses and Silicon Valley. Small businesses have expressed concerns about working with the government, mostly in regard to the time it takes to secure a contract award as well as the complex and cumbersome government-contracting process. The Government Accountability Office issued a report last week that found Army Futures Command could improve how it works with small businesses. The report was released on the eve of AFC's declaration of full operational capability, which is officially set for July 31. “The funny thing is if I talk to defense primes, they are convinced all we are working with is small business, and I talk to small business all they are convinced ... we are working with the defense primes,” Gen. Mike Murray, AFC commander, said during a July 18 press briefing at the Pentagon. “It's going to take a combination of both for us to accomplish our mission, and in many ways a combination of both working together” to achieve the command's goals in modernizing the Army, he said. But Murray agreed there is more to be done. To its credit, the command was built from scratch and was a “blank canvas” just a year ago, Murray said. The command went from 24 pioneers on the ground at its headquarters in Austin, Texas, to 24,000 soldiers and civilians in 25 states and in 15 countries, over the course of the past year. Since landing in Austin, the AFC has established “focused relationships” with industry and academia, he added. Engaging small businesses One critical step toward engagement with small businesses was the creation of the Army Applications Laboratory in Austin's Capital Factory — an innovation hub for entrepreneurs in the heart of the city's downtown. The venue, with more than 100 Army personnel, is to identify novel solutions to benefit the Army's modernization priorities. For example, the lab is kicking off a major effort this week to discover out-of-the-box solutions for an autoloader for its Extended Range Cannon Artillery system in development under its top priority — Long Range Precision Fires. Additionally, a capability the Army was eyeing a year ago — discovered at the Capital Factory — will be tested at the flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, as the service refines its new lot of virtual reality trainers being tested in a pilot program. The Senseye technology is software that can track a pilot's irises during flight simulation training to determine when a person has neurologically learned a task. The Air Force has already incorporated this technology into its simulators. The commander of the Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker said in April at the Army Aviation Association of America symposium that the technology is promising. If all goes well, the commander added, the tech could be used as part of the Army's Synthetic Training Environment. The Army has a cross-functional team, or CFT, within Futures Command focused on such an environment. The GAO recommended the AFC use its cross-functional teams to enhance small business engagement. The Army Applications Lab was also recently at Fort Hood, Texas, working with soldiers on the ground to identify problems that could be solved by small businesses. The lab also completed a trip overseas, Murray noted, but he would not discuss specifics on the location. “I'm not going to say particularly where. There was some specific re-coding of some mission command systems, which significantly helped,” he said. The GAO also recommended the command focus on better engaging small businesses for research and development programs. The command has established four related initiatives, according to the report: It set up the Army Research Laboratory Open Campus 2.0, which transitions scientific research from universities to Army technology development efforts. The command set up the Army Capability Accelerator to help small businesses mature concepts into prototypes and validate early-stage technology. This is managed within the Army Applications Lab. The Army Strategic Capital restructures a prior effort that takes venture capital to offset Army development costs by investing in existing Army Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Lastly, Halo is an effort to accelerate the “adaptation and transition of commercial and startup-derived products to Army applications and programs,” according to the GAO report. The Army Applications Lab will also manage the effort. Murray is in the process of hiring a lead for a small-business office within AFC. While the Army already has a servicewide small-business office, the GAO recommended AFC interface and use that office to improve relations with small businesses. The office will “make sure that we are at least knowledgeable focusing on capitalizing on anything that small businesses have to offer,” Murray said. AFC is also in the preliminary stage of arranging an event in Austin to establish relationships between small businesses and defense primes, Murray said. “One thing I worry about with small business is the ability to scale,” he said, “so there are a lot of ways they can scale, and one of the ways is working with a defense prime.” While defense primes have relationships with small business, Murray noted, the effort would foster new ones that might not exist. Academic pursuits AFC has also established the University Technology Development Division, which serves as the primary link between the command and its academic partners, Murray said. “That is taking root in several key places,” he explained, including Vanderbilt University, which is partnering with the 101st Airborne Division; Carnegie Mellon University, the home of the Army's Artificial Intelligence Task Force; and the University of Texas as well as Texas A&M, where the command is beginning work on several key programs. In addition to providing the building for AFC's headquarters and offering up roughly 10,000 square feet of office space and labs at its Cockrell School of Engineering, the University of Texas is building a robotics institute for the Army by converting an old building into a lab “at fairly significant cost,” Murray said. Murray has tasked engineers at the University of Texas to study the utility of robotics taking over the dirty and dangerous work while keeping soldiers out of harm's way, even bringing a leading engineering professor from the school on a recent trip to Yakima Air Force Base in Washington state to witness a robotic breach experiment that was part of the service's Joint Warfighting Assessment. The lab will also work on battery technologies, Murray added. The inventor of the lithium battery works at the University of Texas. Texas A&M is focused on hypersonics and directed-energy research, according to Murray. The university will eventually build a soldier-development facility at its RELLIS campus“where we will be able to marry up soldiers with graduate students and faculty to go into some agile development capability in solving problems for soldiers,” he said.

Shared by members

  • Share a news article with the community

    It’s very easy, simply copy/paste the link in the textbox below.

Subscribe to our newsletter

to not miss any news from the industry

You can customize your subscriptions in the confirmation email.